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Eric Kendricks becomes second UCLA linebacker to receive Loft IMPACT trophy

Eric Kendricks on Sunday became the second consecutive UCLA linebacker to receive The Lott IMPACT Trophy, awarded to college football’s defensive player of the year who best exemplifies the IMPACT acronym.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Kendricks told the audience at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach after receiving the trophy from the Pro and College Football Hall of Fame member it is name for, Ronnie Lott.

“I don’t know that I’ve earned this award yet, but I’ll continue the rest of my life to earn this award and represent the people it means the most to, my family, my friends and my teammates.”

The award was the second in six days for the 6-foot, 230-pound Kendricks. He was presented with the Butkus Award, which honors college football’s top linebacker, on Tuesday.

Kendricks leads the nation in solo tackles average per game, 8.0, and became UCLA’s all-time leading tackler with 471 in the final regular-season game against Stanford Nov. 28.

The Lott IMPACT Trophy is the only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player. It is the first national college football award based on the West Coast.

IMPACT is an acronym for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.

Then-UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr was last year’s winner and went on to be chosen in the first round of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

The other three finalists were Duke linebacker David Helton, Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha and Alabama safety Landon Collins. Collins is a junior while the other three finalists are all seniors.

The UCLA general scholarship fund will receive a $25,000 donation, while the other three finalists’ schools will each receive $5,000 from the IMPACT Foundation, which recognizes and supports national and local charities serving youths.

The award has been presented annually since 2004. Lott played safety for USC in 1977-80 and four NFL teams in 1981-1995.

Former Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy received an honorary Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan. He is now chief of the Orland Park (Illinois) Police Department.

Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating, was the keynote speaker.

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